The single, most outstanding characteristic that sets REALTORS® apart from other real estate practitioners is the willingness to accept and abide by the Code of Ethics of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. The Code of Ethics, which was first adopted on July 29, 1913, is a living document--responsive in its content to changes in the law and industry. The Code has been revised several times through the years to reflect current developments in professional real estate practice. The term REALTOR® has come to represent competency, fairness, and high integrity. These qualities stem from voluntary adherence to an ideal of moral conduct in real estate business practices.
But even with the best of intention, planning and preparation, occasional disagreements arise between REALTORS® and/or between REALTORS® and their clients or customers. The Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® offers its members and their clients and customers a method to resolve complaints if they believe a REALTOR® may have acted in an unethical manner. An ethics hearing may be held and REALTORS® judged by their peers to determine if the code of ethics had been violated.
How the Process Works
- Complaints must first be filed in writing. You can obtain a complaint form by calling the GMAR office, or from this website. Complaints must be filed within 180 days from the time a complainant knew (or reasonably should have known) that potentially conduct took place.
- A Grievance Review Panel will conduct a preliminary investigation of your complaint to determine if an Ethics Hearing should be held to determine if a violation of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics has occurred.
- Ethics hearings are not held to resolve civil matters or criminal complaints--they are only held to determine if the REALTORS® Code of Ethics had been violated.
- If the Grievance Committee concludes that a hearing should be held, both parties (the complainant and the respondent REALTOR®) are notified of the time and date of the hearing along with instructions as to the procedures that are followed. Both parties are provided an opportunity to state their case and present evidence to the Ethics Hearing Panel.
- At the conclusion of the hearing, the Panel decides if the REALTORS® Code of Ethics has been violated. Disciplinary action can be taken against the REALTOR® ranging from a warning, requirement of educational training, fines, or suspension or even expulsion from the Association. The role of the Association is to vindicate the Code of Ethics and to educate the member.
Complaint Filing Instructions
- Please fill out the complaint form below under "complainant and respondent". The "complainant" is the person filing the complaint. The "respondent" is the person(s) you are filing the complaint against.
- You may review the REALTORS® Code of Ethics and state on the complaint form under "Complainant(s) Charge(s)" the article(s) you feel have been violated. However, citing an article(s) is optional, and is not required for you to file your complaint. The Grievance Committee of the GMAR will conduct a preliminary investigation of your complaint to determine if an ethics hearing is warranted before the Professional Standards Committee. Should the Grievance Committee determine that an ethics hearing should be held the appropriate article(s), would be cited prior to an ethics hearing.
- Along with the complaint form, You must return a signed and dated written statement that explains the nature of your complaint. The complaint must be filed within 180 days of the time the facts regarding the complaint could have been known.
- Please allow thirty (30) days for the Grievance Committee's investigation process. After that time, you will be notified in writing of the Committee's decision.
For more information on filing an ethics complaint, read "Before You File An Ethics Complaint" (below). If you have any questions, contact Scott Bush at the Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® (414) 778-4929 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.